FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

An Anarchist Christmas

Peace on Earth and goodwill toward all — in a world of conflict, ’tis the season of peace.

Sadly, this holiday season the United Nations released a study indicating that 2014 is among the worst years on record for the world’s children. Chronicled in the report is another disturbing history of war and state violence.

An estimated 230 million children currently live in political territories subjected to violent conflict. The executive director of UNICEF, Anthony Lake, as reported by the New York Times, states: “Children have been killed while studying in the classroom and while sleeping in their beds … They have been orphaned, kidnapped, tortured, recruited, raped and even sold as slaves.”

As we reflect on this year of violence, imagine alternatives and act for social change perhaps we may revisit an age-old political ideology as liberating, co-operative and peaceful as it is misunderstood. The rich political tradition to which I refer is anarchism.

In popular circles the word anarchism has come to mean complete disorder or chaos — a state of perpetual violence. This is unfortunate as liberty rejects violent coercion. Anarchic practitioners advocate highly ordered societies rooted in the principles of free association, mutual aid and cooperative labor.

This libertarian idea is deeply ingrained in the human spirit. Labor organizer Rudolph Rocker describes anarchism as “a definite trend in the historic development of mankind” which, “strives for the free unhindered unfolding of all the individual and social forces in life.”

This is my favorite description of anarchism. Liberty is not a doctrine, but rather a praxis innate to human thought and action — the underlying principle being that one should always challenge authority and dismantle unjustifiable concentrations of power. The result is a more libertarian relationship between people and their institutions. Anarchism is thus a human phenomenon.

When feminist movements organize for women’s agency over their own bodies and life without fear of violence we see anarchism.

We see anarchism in Mexico as the population seeks liberation from violent drug cartels, complacent government and oppressive state policies.

We see anarchism in prisons as inmates band together in these dehumanizing institutions to demand living conditions free of violence and sexual battery.

We see anarchism in war-torn regions of the world where individuals risk their lives to save innocent victims of the drone strikes and barrel bombs of oppressive regimes.

We see anarchism in towns and neighborhoods challenging the monopoly of violence held by the police.

We see anarchism in movements that seek the protection of wilderness areas and native lands from the clutches of extractive industries and the iron fist of capital.

We find anarchism in the new technology and falling communications costs that allow all of us to craft markets and labor together free of regulatory restriction.

We see anarchism in our everyday social interactions — telling our family and friends we love them and being kind to strangers.

These are but a few examples. Anarchism is everywhere.

Human action counters systems of power and domination. We have witnessed movements rise against all the bad that has happened this year at the whims of the powerful. This is our age-old tale: History is a race between state power and social power.

So, in the spirit of the season, let us decide to embrace liberty. Let us no longer follow the whims of those who wish to command and control society. Instead, let us labor to coordinate and cultivate the free societies and communities we wish to live.

It is in anarchic order that we see everything humanity can be. Peace on Earth and goodwill toward all are not mutually exclusive — peace IS goodwill. It is our inclined labor that reminds us we can and will build a peace that makes life on Earth worth living — a peace for every child of humanity. When that’s accomplished we will know freedom; such grandeur is only attainable in liberty.

Grant Mincy is a fellow at the Center for a Stateless Society (C4SS.org) and he also blogs at appalachianson.wordpress.com. He holds a chair on the Energy & Environment Advisory Council for the Our America Initiative. He earned his Masters degree in Earth and Planetary Science from the University of Tennessee in the summer of 2012. He lives in Knoxville, Tennessee where he teaches both Biology and Geology at area colleges.

More articles by:

Grant A. Mincy is a senior fellow at the Center for a Stateless Society (C4SS.org) where he holds the Elinor Ostrom Chair in Environmental Studies and Commons Governance. He also blogs at appalachianson.wordpress.com. In addition, Mincy is an associate editor of the Molinari Review and an Energy & Environment Advisory Council Member for the Our America Initiative. He earned his Masters degree in Earth and Planetary Science from the University of Tennessee in the summer of 2012. He lives in Knoxville, Tennessee where he teaches both Biology and Geology at area colleges.

August 14, 2018
Daniel Falcone
On Taking on the Mobilized Capitalist Class in Elections: an Interview With Noam Chomsky
Karl Grossman
Turning Space Into a War Zone
Jonah Raskin
“Fuck Wine Grapes, Fuck Wines”: the Coming Napafication of the World
Manuel García, Jr.
Climate Change Bites Big Business
Alberto Zuppi - Cesar Chelala
Argentina at a Crossroads
Chris Wright
On “Bullshit Jobs”
Rosita A. Sweetman
Dear Jorge: On the Pope’s Visit to Ireland
Binoy Kampmark
Authoritarian Revocations: Australia, Terrorism and Citizenship
Sara Johnson
The Incredible Benefits of Sagebrush and Juniper in the West
Martin Billheimer
White & Red Aunts, Capital Gains and Anarchy
Walter Clemens
Enough Already! Donald J. Trump Resignation Speech
August 13, 2018
Michael Colby
Migrant Injustice: Ben & Jerry’s Farmworker Exploitation
John Davis
California: Waging War on Wildfire
Alex Strauss
Chasing Shadows: Socialism Won’t Go Away Because It is Capitalism’s Antithesis 
Kathy Kelly
U.S. is Complicit in Child Slaughter in Yemen
Fran Shor
The Distemper of White Spite
Chad Hanson
We Know How to Protect Homes From Wildfires. Logging Isn’t the Way to Do It
Faisal Khan
Nawaz Sharif: Has Pakistan’s Houdini Finally Met his End?
Binoy Kampmark
Trump Versus Journalism: the Travails of Fourth Estate
Wim Laven
Honestly Looking at Family Values
Fred Gardner
Exploiting Styron’s Ghost
Dean Baker
Fact-Checking the Fact-Checker on Medicare-for-All
Weekend Edition
August 10, 2018
Friday - Sunday
David Price
Militarizing Space: Starship Troopers, Same As It Ever Was
Andrew Levine
No Attack on Iran, Yet
Melvin Goodman
The CIA’s Double Standard Revisited
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: The Grifter’s Lament
Aidan O'Brien
In Italy, There are 12,000 American Soldiers and 500,000 African Refugees: Connect the Dots 
Robert Fantina
Pity the Democrats and Republicans
Ishmael Reed
Am I More Nordic Than Members of the Alt Right?
Kristine Mattis
Dying of Consumption While Guzzling Snake Oil: a Realist’s Perspective on the Environmental Crisis
James Munson
The Upside of Defeat
Brian Cloughley
Pentagon Spending Funds the Politicians
Pavel Kozhevnikov
Cold War in the Sauna: Notes From a Russian American
Marilyn Garson
If the Gaza Blockade is Bad, Does That Make Hamas Good?
Sean Posey
Declinism Rising: An Interview with Morris Berman  
Jack Dresser
America’s Secret War on Yemen
Howard Lisnoff
The Use and Misuse of Charity: the Luck of the Draw in a Predatory System
Louis Proyect
In the Spirit of the Departed Munsees
Binoy Kampmark
Banning Alex Jones and Infowars
Mundher Al Adhami
On the Iraqi Protests, Now in Their Second Month 
Jeff Mackler
Nicaragua: Dynamics of an Interrupted Revolution
Robert Hunziker
Peter Wadhams, Professor Emeritus, Ocean Physics
David Macaray
Missouri Stands Tall on the Labor Front
Thomas Knapp
I Didn’t Join Facebook to “Feel Safe”
John Carroll Md
Are Haitian Doctors Burned Out?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail